BROOKS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials continued to keep an eye on part of the Manistee National Forest Wednesday after a large wildfire broke out there the night before.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed Wednesday the wildfire east of Newaygo that spread through the woods of the Manistee National Forest was contained.
“At first, I just (Saw) a lot of smoke,” area resident Aaron Clem said. “As I got closer, we ended up having to roll up our window just to go through a smoke cloud. I’ve never seen anything quite like that. It was insane, kinda scary.”
The fire west of Bills Lake near M-82 broke out around 6 p.m. Tuesday and eventually grew to about 105 acres (a revised figure from the 250 acres authorities previously said). It took crews nearly 8 hours to get the fire, which covered an area about 1.1 miles long and .3 miles wide, under control.
“I was really impressed by how fast they actually got the fire contained considering how big it was,” Clem said.
DNR officials said they didn’t believe there would be any additional problems.
DNR officials said 15 structures were threatened during fire, but none were destroyed. No one was hurt.
Eleven fire departments from four counties, the U.S. Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources worked to put the fire out. The Salvation Army was providing firefighters with food and water.
“It’s just overwhelming to me that these people are so dedicated. Some of these people are volunteers, they are not paid. They come out because this is what they believe in,” said Mary Smith with the Salvation Army. “They were giving up their time, and possibly their own lives to save those around us.”
Nearly all the burning land was part of the national forest, but some private land was also affected. Two homes were evacuated Tuesday night.
Authorities have not yet said what sparked the fire.
Storm Team 8 is forecasting that it will be mostly dry during the day, but rain will move into West Michigan Wednesday night. The rain is expected to help diminish the wildfire threat.
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